This is a review of the pre-Estes version of the popular stubby mid-power rocket. It included a standard 29mm motor tube and flush-mount plywood fins.
The instructions were quite good and included drawings. The assembly was pretty basic, being a simple 4FNC rocket. Epoxy was used throughout. Since the fins were flush mount, small holes were made in the airframe along the fin lines to form epoxy rivets. The kit actually included a thrust ring, which I used. In retrospect this should have been left off. I (much later) added T-nuts for motor retention. The Gorilla shock cord mount is a steel cable that loops through a hole in the forward centering ring. This is very sturdy and makes replacement of the shock cord very easy for such a short rocket.
The kit included self-adhesive decals. These weren't very good quality and the clear portion never looked too clear. I painted mine dark red and added checkerboard and chrome accent strips.
Construction Rating: 4 out of 5
The recommended motors included everything from the F20-4 to the G80-10. I have flown mine on F25s, G35s, and G80s with good success. However, it had a tendency to weathercock quite a bit (a 6 foot rod was recommended). As a result, I added a bit of nose weight. It is now arrow straight and you really can't notice any degradation in performance. Like I said I have retrofitted the kit for positive motor retention. I also now use a Nomex pad from Giant Leap in place of wadding.
The shock cord is tied to the Gorilla mount and to a loop of rope which is in turn tied to the nose cone. The 24" chute is too small for the flush mounted fins. Despite the epoxy rivets and generous epoxy fillets, it tends to strip fins (mine tries to find a rock, paved walkway, or whatever). This is easily fixed but annoying.
Flight Rating: 3 out of 5
Overall I give this kit a 4, with the pros outweighing the cons: Pros - cool looks - strong Gorilla shock cord mount - true 29mm motor tube Cons - flush mounted fins - poor decals - undersized chute
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5